This month we had a presentation from one of the RHS judges and our own members were joined by 35 guests from other Hampshire WIs.
Pip Bensley introduced herself to everyone; she worked for Hillier’s nurseries for 27 years (until 5 years ago) during which time she was involved in putting together their Chelsea Flower Show exhibits. They had the same designer for 26 years Andy McKindoe, winning Gold without fail. Since leaving Hillier’s Pip and Andy are still involved at Chelsea creating the “Jardin Blanc” displays for the event restaurants. Pip also leads one of the RHS judging panels.
Pip outlined the massive amount of work that goes into the staging of the exhibits, starting in earnest in January with the press launches and ending after the Show with the manic sell off of plants to the general public. The Hillier’s stand occupies an area of 20m x 30m which incorporates the Chelsea monument and it was fascinating to learn how they could disguise the monument so that it was almost invisible, using 30 feet high trees and typically 4000 plants annually on the display.
After an illuminating presentation, Sue Broadhurst proposed a vote of thanks to Pip for sharing her experiences and giving us such a fascinating insight into the world of the Chelsea Show.